Regulatory review: Online health foods ads in China, New Zealand’s new bill in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Online health foods ads in China, New Zealand’s new bill in nutra regulatory round-up

Related tags online advertisement ecommerce Taiwan

In our monthly nutra regulatory round-up, we take a closer look at how the Chinese authorities are proposing to ban the use of scientific research reports and clinical evidence for health foods advertisement, concerns around New Zealand’s Therapeutic Products Bill and more.
China CBEC concerns: Authorities urge e-commerce supplement firms to play by ‘general trade’ rules

The presence of banned components, fake health claims, and IP infringement are common problems seen in health foods imported into China via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC), and the authorities are urging companies to adhere to general trade rules even when selling online.

Geng Fei Fei, spokeswoman from the quality and safety risk national inspection centre for CBEC trade and products pointed out the above when speaking at an event organised by the China Chamber Of Commerce For Import & Export Of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE) held in Shanghai on June 19.

Examples of problematic imports include men’s health supplements containing the medicine Tadalafil – a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction and weight management products, especially those from Japan found containing sibutramine – an appetite suppressant.

‘Red tape nightmare, inadequate consultation’: Opposition MPs join NZ industry body in voicing new regs concerns​  

New Zealand’s natural health product industry body and several opposition members of parliament have voiced concerns over the Therapeutic Products Bill – a pending bill which is intended to regulate natural health products in the country.

Several MPs claimed that the pending bill could become a “red tape nightmare” ​during the bill’s second reading at the Parliament on June 29.

Opposition MP, Dr Shane Reti from the National Party, for example, took issue with the market authorisation process, explaining that this could adversely affect both small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Immunity benefits: China adds soy protein isolate, whey protein to health foods raw material directory

China health foods authorities are including soy protein isolate and whey protein to the country’s Health Food Raw Material Directory – Nutrition Supplement, which means that products containing these two ingredients could make specific health claims.

Products containing either of these two ingredients could make the claim “strengthening immunity” ​from October 1, 2023.

Soy protein isolate or whey protein products that provide between six and 25 grams of protein could claim to strengthen the immunity, said the authorities.

Scientific research reports, clinical evidence might be prohibited on health foods advertisements – China regulator

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has proposed to ban the use of scientific research reports and clinical evidence for health foods advertisements.

It is proposing that health foods advertisements should refrain from using “theories, opinions or the use of scientific journal publication, research reports, clinical evidence and etc beyond what is present in the user manual.”

It also proposed that the advertisements should not involve underage individuals.

Taiwan FDA permits third genetically modified strain for fermenting 2’-FL used in infant formula​  

The Taiwan Food and Drug Authority has officially permitted the use of another genetically modified (GM) bacteria strain – the third one so far – for fermenting human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) 2-fucosyllactose (2’-FL).

The strain permitted is GM E. coli K-12 MG1655 INB000846, effective from June 1, the FDA announced.

The 2’-FL fermented from this particular strain could be used in infant and follow-up formulas, complementary foods for toddlers, Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP), and milk powder for kids below seven years old.

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